Photo: Getty

Bill Nelson is Florida’s Democratic Senator, a man who has few distinguishing characteristics except this: He is always ostentatiously demonstrating his physical fitness. Fine then. Let’s do this.

Yesterday, the 75 year-old Nelson, who is locked in a tight race with zillionaire “Dr. Evil”-style baldhead villain Rick Scott, laid down this challenge to his opponent: “Anytime he wants to have a contest about push-ups or pull-ups, then we’ll see who’s not up to it.” As a native Floridian, I assure you that this is the sort of politics that Floridians want to see. Yes, we would prefer gator wrestling challenges, but failing that, deciding our Senate races based on fitness challenges makes a lot of sense to us. We’re simple folk. Give us some Mtn Dew, a large truck, and a pair of old men sweating for the right to make major national decisions on our behalf, and we are happy, as long as there is also a lot of Miller Lite there.


Can Bill Nelson back up all of his trash talk? In fact, he loves nothing better. Nelson, who used to be an astronaut, is constantly demonstrating his physical fitness in front of reporters. How many pushups and pullups can this old guy really do? I’m glad you asked. Here he is doing 46 pushups in a senator’s office in 2015; in 2012, he did 50 pushups on stage at an event with Michelle Obama.

Image: ABC

And pullups? His office referred us to this video, taken in May, of Nelson doing pullups in a firehouse. He appears to do 11 total, only about five of which I would call full pullups, and zero of which I would call STRICT official pullups, but fine, he’s 75.


Rick Scott, a gangly rich guy used to buying his way out of trouble, is unlikely to accept Bill Nelson’s fitness challenge. I am a Floridian, and I strongly support members of Congress doing some kind of workout that is not P90X, which is for fascists. So I must step up in Rick Scott’s place. But the terms of the bet must change a bit. If I am able to do more combined pushups and pullups than Bill Nelson, he must change his rather tepid, centrist position on health care and get behind single-payer. If he wins, Splinter will stop calling for a confiscatory top tax rate on the rich to finance socialist policies and instead embrace an economic program consisting of... let’s see here... uh, tax credits for workers looking to change careers or transition into modernized industries and education-related tax breaks to encourage people to pursue industries in short supply of skilled workers. Yes. This is a fair bet.

Bill Nelson, email me and let me know when you are available. I know you love this shit, you flinty old flyboy.

Senior Writer.

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